In recent years, there has been a lot of media attention given to the loss of pollinating insects in the landscape. There are a myriad of theories such as habitat reduction and degradation that has affected crop yields in various agricultural industries.
With our on-going efforts to have the golf course become an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary (http://www.auduboninternational.org/acspgolf), our staff began an initiative to help increase the local population of pollinating insects.
This past Friday, we received our “nucs” or nucleus colonies (pictured above) of honey bees from a local provider.
Above, First Assistant Golf Course Superintendent Ben Gotwalt is transferring the bees to their new home.
We estimate each hive has 3,000 bees to start the season. This number is expected to increase throughout the spring and into the summer as we add boxes and frames. In late August or early September, we will begin the process of removing the boxes and draw down the hive population with the hope of harvesting honey.
Above is a one-box hive. The small black box on top is the feeder tray. With the help of Chef Dave Daddezio, we added simple syrup for food. This sugary water concoction will help with the bees transition to the hive. We have already seen our bees beginning to forage on the course and they will rely less on the syrup going forward.
In early March, we began prepping the area for the hives between the three ponds on the eleventh and fifteenth holes.
The picture above was taken this morning.
The picture above is again from March and the picture below is from this morning. It is our intention to seed this area in the future with fine fescue (native rough) as a natural habitat for our new neighbors.
We wish our bees well and hope for some honey this fall!